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README.md

Simurgh

One day in the distant future, Simurgh aims to be a (toy) total dependently typed programming language and a (toy) theorem prover. As of August 2019, it is no more than a skeleton. Currently, there is an absolutely minimal dependently typed core lambda calculus with lambda abstractions, Pi types, let constructs and a single type universe Set : Set.

Motivation

Since secondary school, I have been amazed by the enormous power and magic-like capabilities of theorem provers and dependent types, in particular the "big trinity" of CC-rooted languages, Coq/Gallina, Agda and Idris.

For some time, I lived a happy, complacent certified life. Then, suddenly, in short order, F* and Lean appeared. These two fellas changed my view of theorem provers for years to come. They showed me that their potential is much greater than I perceived and that their usability can be improved beyond what I thought possible. The user experience aspect of their innovative approach appealed to me especially.

Being enchanted by Haskell at the same time, I set out to create a toy, yet non-trivial prover of myself.

Building

The project is built on the Haskell Tool Stack, thus the following sequence of commands should suffice to build the library and the REPL executable:

$ git clone https://github.com/mgrabovsky/simurgh.git
$ cd simurgh
$ stack setup
$ stack build

To run the REPL upon building the package, you can simply invoke

$ stack exec simurgh-exe

Interactive prompt

The simurgh-exe target provides a simple interactive prompt (or REPL) to test the features of the language. If a valid term is entered on the command line, it is evaluated and the result is printed out (no type checking of the input yet).

Currently, the following commands are supported:

  • :help will print the help message which currently lists the available commands, i.e. similarly to this very list.
  • :quit will terminate the REPL.
  • :type <expr> will infer and print the type of the given expression.

Directory structure

  • src/Simurgh/ contains the language implementation
    • Syntax.hs defines the abstract syntax type, telescopes and functions for working with them
    • Eval.hs contains the evaluator with various reduction strategies
    • Typing.hs implements the bidirectional type checker and conversion rules
    • Pretty.hs has some facilities for pretty-printing the expressions of our core language
    • Parser.hs implements a Parsec-based parser for the core language
  • the app/ directory contains a simple REPL for evaluating and typing the expressions interactively
  • test/ contains a few very rudimentary tests of some of the components, currently the evaluator and the parser
  • notes/ contains various remarks on the development, the theory around it and some tools used throughout

Roadmap/Wishlist

(Hint: Click the triangle ⯈ to expand the individual subsections.)

Regarding the language, listed roughly in ascending order of difficulty, interestingness and distance in time:
  • Modern library for binding syntax – Unbound
  • Named definitions and axioms (think about opacity later)
  • Type universe hierarchy; subtyping
  • Impredicative, proof-irrelevant universe (à la Prop)?
  • Module system or namespaces
  • Opaque definitions
  • (Mutually) inductive data types
  • Pattern matching
  • Primitive recursive functions
  • Structurally recursive functions
  • Investigate more elaborate techniques for termination checking (sized types, etc.)
  • Coinduction
  • Induction-recursion and the kitchen sink
  • Play around with notions of equality (intensional/extensional/observational)
  • Investigate quotient types
  • Introduce a higher-level user-facing language with a more usable syntax compiling into the into the low-level core language
  • Implicit arguments, metavariables; elaboration à la Lean
  • Records and typeclasses
  • Implicit coercions
  • First-class support for monads (do-notation) or algebraic effects and handlers
  • Compilation to some real-world language, be it Haskell, Idris, Rust or C
  • LLVM compilation
Regarding infrastructure and libraries:
  • Get Haskeline to support Text
  • Consider an alternative Prelude, such as Protolude
  • Thorough tests, at least for the parser and type checker
  • Introduce property tests -- QuickCheck or Hedgehog
  • Continuous integration with Travis
  • Create a couple of simple examples of the language
  • Create a prelude and a hint of a standard library
  • Formalize an easy, classical theorem, e.g. the infinitude of natural numbers, irrationality of √2, infinitude of primes…
  • Modern pretty-printing – Hughes/PJ, Wadler/Leijen, mainland-pretty or prettyprinter
  • Improve parsing and error reporting; look into Trifecta
  • See if lenses can be leveraged anywhere

References

Reference papers and books, learning resources, study materials, etc. will be listed here in no particular order. Currently, the list consists partly of articles that inspired me the most and partly of papers illustrating the direction where I'd like to be headed.

Also inspired by

Back in 2015, I started collecting and sorting resources on the topic of formal methods in general. Though I haven't been as keen on updating it since, some of the results are available in my fm-notes repository.

Licence

The code, documentation and other resources in this repository are provided under the conditions of the Blue Oak Model License 1.0.0.

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Dependently typed purely functional programming language

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